What advice would you give a beginner male pole dancer?
There are so many questions that you might have as a man when you first begin pole, ranging anything from “how do I modify a move to better suit my body mechanics” to “should I shave?” – so we wanted to reach out and ask for some general advice.
Dan Rosen is a UK Male Pole Champion and enjoys creating pole memes with Polelols.
Dr. Ken is an international pole, kung fu, and parkour instructor, a photographer, and a chiropractor. His pole tutorials are available for purchase through PoleNinjaTutorials.com.
Blue Angel is a male pole athlete and photographer in the United States who just wants to rock and roll all night and party every day. Angel’s ninety-five year old grandfather is his biggest supporter and number one fan.
Fred is an avid pole competitor, having won several medals from Australia to France.
Photo: Dan Rosen
Generally, most of the pole moves created are suitable for both men and women. Some of the more dynamic movements its best to keep the hips tilted back to avoid the “junk” smashing into the pole, but generally it’s just as easy for a girl to hit their parts on the pole as it is for a man. I get asked a lot about this from men who are starting pole. But unless you have a 12 inch penis you should be fine. haha!
My one tip which I find really works for me is to either shave or trim leg hair. I find when I have hairy legs it’s almost like having leggings on and really reduces the grip I have on my legs.
Photo: Dr. Ken Pole Ninja
Dr. Ken Pole Ninja
As a male instructor, my challenge is usually to adjust my own mechanics to instruct women. So, this question is particularly interesting to me and I enjoy the perspective shift.
In general, the largest differences that I’ve seen between male and female traditional body types are these: higher center of mass, higher natural upper body strength (or a reliance on upper body strength), typically more sweat, and more body hair. The only other difference is the anatomical, and those are vastly in favor of men over women which makes any excuse on account of those differences insignificant.
Most other oft-discussed differences are preferential, such as moving in certain styles which is not bound within genders or sexual orientations, especially in the pole world. Though it is common for newer male pole dancers to try to differentiate themselves stylistically from a “feminine” style, this question refers mostly to bodies rather than aesthetics.
My biggest tips would be these:
Don’t neglect the basics on assumption of them being “easier” or “harder”. What is considered “harder” in the pole world is often based on upper body strength rather than something technically harder. In other words, what is naturally harder for women (lower center of mass and less upper body strength) is often easier for men. Thus, I am often less “impressed” by men who can muscle a handspring/human flag than one that can do a decent leg hang.
That being said, the opposite is true, too. Don’t feel bound to accomplish all movements you see most. You have a different body type, and what is more common is not always what is most natural, for you. You will have your comfort moves as well, and they could be different than those of your female peers.
Don’t limit yourself in your self-talk (or excuse making). Yes, women tend to be more flexible than men, but most are training for more strength, anyway. Flexibility, fluidity, sensitivity—all are also aspects of pole dance. Don’t excuse poor sensitivity to being a man.
Sweat sucks. So what. Find your personal way around the challenge because, I promise you, there are women pole dancers who sweat just as much or live in more challenging conditions and have found methods around it.
Pain? Your point? Shaving can help.
Balls in the way? Dance belt, or you’re doing it wrong.
No breasts? Congrats. You have it easier.
Short hair so no hair whips? Grow it out.
Bigger feet? Marlo’s are bigger. Narrower pelvis? Lucky us.
Dr. Ken, Pole Ninja
Photo: Blue Angel – Photo by Knockingbird Creative
Blue Angel 💙😇💛
Welcome to pole dancing! You have a wonderful journey ahead 🙂
Everyone’s body is unique and different but all of them are capable of dancing. Most of my advice will apply to most men (and plenty of women) however nothing below is gospel and we are all in this learning process together. Male and female here refer to the average bodies for that sex (not gender) but could not possibly apply to all body types. Think of this as a guide for people who might have a body and experience similar to mine.
Remember pole is for YOU
Great news! The average male has a higher amount of muscular strength in their upper body. You have what many female dancers enviously call ‘boy arms’. There are legions of female dancers who have complained to me when they found out their boyfriend could climb, shoulder mount, or handspring very early on.
Bad news! Your strength acts as a shortcut and could lead you to bad form and sloppy performance. Plenty of guys fall into the trap of pulling themselves up by strength instead of technique. Relying too much on your arms and strength will just hamper your development in the long term. Focus on using your legs as much if not more than your arms when you are learning. Utilize your entire body and do not neglect balance and form. Strength can only get you so far.
Your M-ASS 🍑 distribution The average male has different mass distribution compared to the average female so you may find certain moves much easier and others harder than your. Ultimately when it comes to bodies everyone’s mass distribution, history of movement, and prior injuries will be different. Try and think in terms of biomechanics and not boy vs girl. Male gymnasts and dancers are just as capable of being flexible and graceful as women if they train for it.
Higher body temperatures. An average man’s body temperature is higher than the average woman’s so you might expect to sweat more than others. As a result of the difference your studio may even seem unseasonably warm to you in particular at times. No worries! It will be easier for you to get limber and feel toasty. Drink lots of water and be aware of your condition. Towel off sweat regularly and change towels. Wipe your pole down often with alcohol.
🌟 VITAL TIP 🌟
GRIP AID DOES NOT BLOCK SWEAT
If you sweat frequently, thoroughly apply your antiperspirants thirty minutes before using grip aid. Common grip aids can be washed away and ruined by your sweat. You want to reduce sweating THEN apply your sticky or chalky product of choice.
Common 🍆 Concerns
Look I get it … you want to avoid hitting your 🍆 on the pole. It’s a common concern but not one I have found to be a problem. The fear of banging your 🍆 probably causes more accidents than resulting in one. You need to overcome that fear so you can properly fly. Wearing a dance belt and overcoming your fear will get you through this.
Buy good dance belts early on! Your cheap tightie-whities are seriously NOT going to get the job done. Support and protection are mandatory. You can get by for a long time wearing casual gym clothing but you will not get far without a dance belt.
Dance Belts. Apparel like dance belts and sweat wicking dancewear are really important for both peak performance and comfort. Depending on where you live that may be difficult to come by. My unpaid endorsement goes to Sarah McClymont and Wink Fitnesswear which has a whole line specifically for men. They were able to help get me sized and fit properly on an international order even when shipping and returns were difficult. Check them out!
Explore and discover for yourself. Everyone should take classes with plenty of different teachers to find styles of dance and teaching that is right for them. Finding a teacher and style you connect with may be helpful for you. Explore classes and studios until you find something that connects with you.
Learn to feel comfortable speaking up. During class if you find an exercise, movement, or position very uncomfortable you should feel okay asking for modifications. Give some time to feel and read your body on the pole and what it is doing or experiencing. You will have to communicate this to teachers who could be unfamiliar with your body type
No unhealthy comparison! Do not compare yourself to others in an unhealthy and self critical manner. Do not look down on others because they are struggling or making mistakes. Especially do not compare yourself to people with a totally different fitness background than you.
Enjoy your successes! Make them reasonable and frequent! Learn to love your personal progress. Look for every accomplishment no matter how small so you can keep track and share them! Use the positive feedback loop as motivation to look forward to practice. You have to want to be in the studio getting your ass kicked every day so make it your pride and joy.
Consistency over intensity. Making good habits is like building a chain. Every day you add a link to the chain. You want to keep that chain going. Your goal is not to go 110% every day. Your goal should be to make every day a ‘non-zero’ day. All that means is you need to make SOME progress EVERY day. Even if it means climbing but no tricks. Even if it means doing flexibility but no pole. Even if it means looking up techniques on instagram when you can’t hit the gym. Every day can be an opportunity for improvement.
Find styles that fit. There are a lot of different styles of pole. Pole sport / calisthenics, entertainment, circus, drama, comedy, exotic, theater, artistic, exotic… You do not have to limit yourself to one. Find ways to dance that make you happy and align with your goals.
Dancing in heels is always optional. You can dance in whatever footwear your studio will allow. Socks or fresh sneakers are just fine if you do not like going barefoot. Ask your studio what is allowed. Find choreo and classes that fit your personal expression.
RECORD! EVERYTHING! Get comfortable recording yourself and looking at your own videos. The fastest way to improve is regularly watching yourself after practice. Healthy and measured self-criticism can go a long way. Buy a wide angle lens attachment for your camera phone and a good flexible leg tripod. They cost $20 and will enable you to watch all your successes and failures.
Connect with or follow other dancers. We get it. Posting video of yourself dancing might be difficult at first. Even if you never post your art you can use Instagram and YouTube to find dancers with styles you enjoy. Search tools and recommendation algorithms make it possible to find and learn from anyone around the world. You can use social media to find inspiration, connect with dancers, and create a unique expression of movement expression that fits you.
My Final Word
“Man to man talk” time … do not ever make excuses or give yourself limitations in pole dancing because of your sex. It is absolutely the worst thing for yourself. Your body is capable of amazing things so do not start this journey by putting up barriers for yourself
Be confident and tell your story because no one else will.
Your Guardian Angel 💙😇💛
Most of my teacher were females and in 6 years, there has been one single transition for which getting the advice of a male teacher really did unlock something for me. However, it may be reassuring for a lot of guys to have a male teacher at some point.
If that is your case, give it a try! There may not be male teachers in your studio/town, so try and take a workshop with a male pole dancer, if given the chance. Else, worry not 😉
As for the differences in teaching different genders — as both a student and a teacher, I find it hard to make generalities, since a lot of factors have to be considered besides gender-related anatomic differences. No one is alike. Some people are naturally flexible, others are not. Some are tall, some are short. Some have a background in circus/dancing/gymnastics, some don’t. Some have a good proprioception gained from practicing another activity, some not so much.
About hair — should I leave it? Trim it? Shave it? Wax it? Laser it out?
I think it’s a personal preference. Most of all, it comes down to finding your balance between the time/effort/money you want to spend on removing it, the possibility to get ingrown hairs if you wax or shave (that depends on the people, too), and the extra grip you will get with less hair.
But remember — as a man, you mostly have that choice to remove or leave your hair without anyone batting an eye (which is good, because the testosterone you produce will favor hair growth). Most women, on the other hand, are still socially pressured into getting rid of their leg hair for instance.
And what should you wear?
Again, personal preference. Don’t be afraid to try stuff, but most of all trust how you feel in these pants. And if you realize your balls are flashing when you do that split during a class… That’s okay man, shit happens, you didn’t do it on purpose! Laugh it off, give a “ball flash risk warning”, ask people not to look… And try not to wear these pants in class again 😉 You’ll be just fine, I promise.
One thing is sure — whether you’re a woman or a man, there is no difference in the way you should practice pole dancing: never forbid yourself anything based on your gender, and enjoy it as much as you can.
Get in Touch
You can find Dan Rosen on Instagram at @danrosenpole
Dr. Ken has been touring and teaching pole internationally since 2014, and he’s now taught in over 35 countries. He built his reputation on dynamic and fluid movements, but he is proud to be known as an instructor for accessible and intuitive progressions.
He’s competed, placed, and judged in numerous prestigious International venues, but his background as a Doctor of Chiropractic, a Kung Fu and Parkour Instructor, and his lifetime of movement is what best qualifies his teachings. Additionally, touring regularly with Marlo Fisken has given him irreplaceable insight and experience.
He is the creator of “Silent Tutorials” on IG, and “Pole Ninja Tutorials” on Youtube, and his tutorials are available through PoleNinjaTutorials.com. He can be followed on IG under the username: @doctorkenpoleninja.
Visit Blue Angel 💙😇💛 on Instagram at @pdblueangel.
You can find Fred on Instagram at @_ick_g